Post card from a Mumbai village: Living in the shadow of fear

Last week, after two students studying in a local school in Uran spotted “armed men” dressed in Pathan suits and using words like “school” and “ONGC”, many in the small hamlet are scared.

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai | Published:September 29, 2016 2:27 am
Uran, Uran terrorist spotted, terrorist spotted in Uran, Uran News, latest news, India news, Uran terrorist search, Uran news, latest news The Navi Mumbai police and the QRT during the search operation at Uran last Friday. Express

Just a few days ago, this village saw a huge deployment of forces trying to nab the “suspicious men” sighted by two local students.

Located 47 km from Mumbai, Uran houses many sensitive installations such as the Naval base, an unit of the marine commandos and the ONGC rigs, making its a high-security zone.

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“We always feel jittery just thinking about what happens if there is a terror attack on the ONCG rigs or the ammunition centre. Not just Uran, even Mumbai and its satellite townships will be wiped out,” says local resident Ravindra Gaikwad.

Last week, after two students studying in a local school spotted “armed men” dressed in Pathan suits and using words like “school” and “ONGC”, many in the small hamlet are scared.

The sense of fear is also due to Uran being close to a forest and its proximity to the Arabian Sea, which can give cover to any intruder. Gaikwad, whose family has been residing in the hamlet for six generations now, says threat of a terrorist attack keeps him awake all night.

“We are not worried about facilities like water or power supply, but we are worried about attacks as it is the most sensitive area,” he says.

According to locals, the 200-year old hamlet was earlier home to ganglords and smugglers. Somit Mokashi, a resident, says, “According to folklore, Uran was a very peaceful place but there are tales of how gangsters and smugglers misused the village owing to its strategic location and proximity to Mumbai.”

During 26/11 the village was thoroughly searched by investigators after rumours that terrorists might have used the route. “Luckily, nothing like that was found,” said Mokashi.

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